Learning a second language can be a fun way to open up the world and embrace new possibilities in travel, friendship, food, culture and a host of other cool things. Aren’t you tired of being monolingual when more and more people from around the world can speak one or more languages including English?
A Worthy Investment
Consider learning a new language as an investment, but not like your regular stocks, bonds and gold type. Were talking about an investment in yourself. When you take the time to invest in learning another language, you’re giving yourself an extra tool to succeed and go places. You’ll never view the world in the same light once you immerse yourself in the culture of another country.
Aside from the many health benefits being bilingual can give you, such as delayed onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, knowing how to speak in another language gives you opportunities that you otherwise would never have gotten had you stayed monolingual, like getting that assignment overseas or pulling double duty as the company’s in house translator and getting paid more. If your boss is looking for the best quality French translation services, tell her you can handle it.
But how can you learn another language without breaking the bank? Rosetta Stone and other programs cost way too much. The whole shebang to learn Spanish from Rosetta Stone will set you back hundreds of dollars!
The point is, do you really want to pay that much to learn a language when there are tons of resources online that can help you for the good old price of free?
Duolingo is an excellent resource if you want to learn most European languages for free. Choose from German, Irish, Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Norwegian, Turkish, Danish, Swedish, Esperanto and Ukrainian. Google Translate is another useful and free tool at your disposal. It’s not as accurate as a native speaker and botches complicated phrases, but for the basics, it’s pretty accurate, and you’ll only need to know 20% of the words of another language to be conversational.
Watching foreign language TV shows and movies is also one way to learn a language quickly. Make sure you know most of the common words, so you’ll be able to piece sentences together faster. You can also go to TuneIn internet radio and search for foreign language radio stations. Try to read a few books in another language too, with Google Translate at the ready.
Time to Practice
Once you’ve decided on what language to learn, use all the free online courses on Duolingo and other services such as Livemocha, Foreign Service Institute and a host of others. If you feel you’ve learned enough and are ready to talk to a native speaker, do a Google search of all the restaurants in your area that serve foreign cuisine.
Go to the restaurant to verify if the owner or someone else speaks the language you want to practice. Smaller cafes, bakeries, etc have a bigger chance of the owners manning the place, so they’re your best bet. Once there, try striking a conversation in their native language. They might be surprised at first and puzzled by all your mistakes, so explain to them that you’re studying how to speak their language.
If you’re too shy to strike up a conversation because you feel you’re not that good yet, you can always go virtual and pay someone to talk to you. The website italki.com has excellent resources for you to tap into for as little as $5 for a one-on-one session with a native speaker. It sucks that you have to pay, but immersion is very important if you want to make the new language stick. You can’t talk to yourself and expect to learn anything.
The world can be your oyster when you can speak more than one language. Consider learning a new language and give yourself an upgrade. New cultures, beautiful cities, delectable food and wonderful people are waiting for you across the globe.